SCUD Is More Than A Four-letter Word

July 9, 2002     

this letter and the below article came to me from  Jake Rhinebolt, my XO  ST-2 back in the '60's.

Hi Doc Rio,

An ex-submarine shipmate sent me this article. The writer, Tony DeMarco did pretty good after 36 years since the event, but he was a little "fuzzy."

The SCUD didn’t run submerged, but was a sailboat that could be launched from a submerged sub. It had water proof outboard motor. It was designed by the CIA to infiltrate agents into Cuba.

Ron Fox was along too. We three thought its best use was as a Cuban   (illegible word)   death trap.

It was also the coldest I have ever been in my life.

Good Luck,      Jake                    

     My comment:    Jake, what does "SCUD" stand for?


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                      SCUD Is More Than A Four-letter Word

by Tony DeMarco

The American Submariner           April - June 2002

When I first saw the photo of this submarine, it brought me back some 36 years to 1966, and my personal experience with an underwater swimmer delivery system, then called a SCUD. I believe it meant submerged covert delivery system. I was the Navigator and Operations Officer and a Lieutenant Commander at the time on the USS Grenadier (55-525). Grenadier with its high, North Atlantic sail was a four-engine, four-battery boat operating out of Key West as a unit of Submarine Squadron (CSR) 12. The skipper was Lcdr Fritz Hahn.

Grenadier always seemed to be the CSR 12 test boat for the latest underwater gadgetry. Having come from the relatively spacious three-engine, two-battery USS Threadfin (SS-410), Grenadier had something in every little cubbyhole.

Some of these facts may be bit fuzzy, because they happened over three decades ago in 1966. Repair personnel from the tender USS Bushnell built a special wooden cradle on Grenadier’s deck, just aft of the forward torpedo room (FTR) escape hatch. It was designed to house a crudely constructed SCUD capable of carrying two underwater swimmers to the beach for an undetected insertion or some other covert mission. The SCUD was tightly latched down in the cradle.  I don’t recall the SCUDs dimensions or capability, but it was battery powered and I believe about 8-10 feet long. It ran submerged, just below the surface of the water with its two occupants. The two SEALS were Ltjg Jake Rhinebolt and Petty Officer First Class Gallagher from SEAL Team Two at the Little Creek (VA) Amphibious Base.

Their mission was to make an undetected incursion onto the small Naval Coastal Facility at Panama City, Fl, some 90 miles east of Pensacola. I’m a bit hazy here, but as I recall, they were to enter the base commander’s office and remove something to prove they had successfully breached the base’s security. Grenadier’s role was relatively simple, except for the difficult navigation problem in reaching the precise drop-off point. We also had to remain undetected during our submerged nighttime transit of the shallow water. There weren’t many prominent navigation aids, landmarks, and getting a good visual "fix" was further compounded by the many lights of the resort area.

When we hit our spot, Rhinebolt and Gallagher locked out of the FTR escape chamber, went up on deck, unlatched the SCUD and motored to the beach, six miles away. They then had to hide the SCUD.  After accomplishing their mission (if they weren’t caught), they were to swim back to the rendezvous point without the Scud for Grenadier retrieval.

After the drop off, Grenadier retreated to the relative safety of deeper water, and six hours later returned to pick up the two "intruders." The scheduled time for the extraction was 6 a.m. and we arrived back there 10 minutes early at 5:50. I informed skipper Fritz Hahn we were on station to extract the two SEALS. To be honest, it was a bit of ~ SWAG (stupid wild ass guess), because we were still having some NAV problems. I sure wish we had a global positioning system (GPS) back then we raised NO.1 scope did a quick look around. NO SEALS! At 6 a.m., I did it again. Still NO SEALS! Skipper Hahn said, "Give them another 10 minutes." All of a sudden, I heard "Clank! Clank! Clank!" Someone was ringing the Grenadier’s doorbell. They had arrived and were longing of some steak and eggs If they had a broom, they would have tied it to the periscope. They swam six miles to affect a rendezvous with only a wrist-held compass. What a feat. I was totally impressed and tried to recruit them as part of my navigation team, but they respectfully declined. I don’t know who recovered the hidden SCUD, but the two happy SEALS had enough material to prove that they accomplished their mission.

About a year or so later, I left Grenadier and volunteered for in-country Vietnam :.duty as a combat field historian. There in the Mekong Delta, I met Lt. Rhinebolt, who was in charge of a SEAL platoon in Binh Thuy, and also now Chief Electrician’s Mate Gallagher, who was in Vinh Long with a SpecWarGru SEAL platoon. At the time, I was the historian for the SEAL activity in Vietnam. These two men were highly decorated Navymen."

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